Things were not looking good for Nate Freiman on May 1. The Oakland Athletics‘ 6-foot 8-inch first baseman was hitting .148 13 games into his MLB career, and the team had just called up Luke Montz, another right-handed hitting slugger.
But Freiman responded with an absolutely torrid May, hitting .351 with nine RBIs and a .928 OPS as he earned the American League Rookie of the Month Award. Freiman has cooled somewhat in June, but after going 3-for-4 last night with a pair of singles off C.C. Sabathia, he is now hitting .338 against left-handers on the season.
Upon further investigation, it appears as though Freiman was just warming up in April. In four minor league seasons, he has swatted 71 home runs and though he’s never hit above .298, he’s also never hit below .288.
At Duke, where he graduated with a 3.84 GPA while majoring in history and minoring in math, Freiman holds the record for most career home runs and is second in batting average. That’s also where he met his future wife Amanda Blumenherst, who plays on the LPGA Tour. Freiman has caddied for Blumenherst at eight LPGA events, which he described to MLB.com’s Corey Brock as “nerve-wracking, but a lot of fun.”
This past September, Freiman played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, hitting .417 with five hits, four of which were home runs. So far for the Athletics, he has managed two home runs. However, considering he’s making the jump straight from Double-A and might just be the tallest position player in the history of the MLB, it’s been a pretty good start for Freiman.